Small business loans are not always easy to secure. For Tom Mortell, owner of Ace Hardware in Norwood, Colorado, this rang true when it came to financing a solar array for the hardware store’s new location on Grand Avenue.
First opening in 2015, the Norwood Ace Hardware moved to its new building in July 2022, adding 3,200 square footage to the store. Mortell discovered it was a requirement of the San Miguel Power Association (SMPA, the energy cooperative servicing Norwood and other towns throughout San Miguel County) for businesses to meet new green building codes. Mortell had two options: rip out all insulation and drywall, spray foam and re-drywall—or install solar panels. He went with the latter!
Mortell was referred to CCEF through the Telluride Venture Network, an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” supporting new, innovative, and growing businesses. He sought $75,000 in funds for the solar array project that would allow his store to meet the building codes required by SMPA. The funds paid for the cost of the equipment and installation labor, with the project finally wrapping up in October 2022.
“Working with CCEF and getting the loan was so easy and smooth,” says Mortell. “It was awesome to work with you guys. And I think in the long-term, the solar panels are going to be a great thing.”